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The Rajma Chawal and Net Neutrality

For all us flying executive’s in Delhi NCR one of the very few reliefs is the taste of Rajma-Chawal at Nehru place. net neutralityBesides its divine taste, its surprisingly reasonable. The price  actually fits into the lunch budget of a regular salaried person in Delhi/NCR and just enough spicy to not only tinkle your taste buds but also not spoil your tummy. And ofcourse an efficient supply chain to ensure you don’t have to queue-up for more than 5 mnts. This guy started probably couple of decades back when the area around was yet to be developed. Now, the shop is still more or less similar in ambiance and style.The only thing which has changed in the volume of food sold the area of his vending point and endless list of consumers. And for all us happy consumers of his product, we do not need and wish to know which vendor he sources his raw materials from, which burner he uses to cook and if he actually files all his statutory taxes. Not as long as he is giving us all only one simple healthy reasonable dish an afternoon.

Ironically, the whole world is being a bitter critique to the only person who is willing to take a step forward and serve one simple dish for the segment which actually no one wants to serve. The only person who has invested his money, time, energy for a cause with no upfront and direct benefits. Rest of the learned world is standing by the shore picking many many mistakes and breaches (which may not be entirely wrong though) but not willing to do any anything to address the target market. Everyone feels the need to feed the needy, everyone discusses what how and when to feed the needy but no one wants to invest to feed the needy. Sadly while we all learned janta is fighting over the impact on raw material supplier, its nutritional value while the needy is still going hungry.

Happy 2016

Amidst busy schedule and hectic lifes, difficult husbands strict wifes,
bothering bosses smothering teammates, acting politicians and politically active actors. Between thin lines of tolerance & intolerance, difficult drives & easy road fights,

lets resolute to come together for happiness & peace this coming year and celebrate the spirit of simplicity and humanity..

images 2016

The Mobility Conundrum

 

EPSON scanner image

EPSON scanner image

 

 

Why would your company want its employees to use their own mobile devices for work or decide to give mobile devices for official purpose?

I asked this to some of my friends, IT consultants and few decision makers, following are few of the answers;

  1. Except for sales staff, all my employees work from office and I do not intend to have any mobilility solution for my office staff. Sales staff already has mobility solutions
  2. I do not allow people to connect their personal mobile devices or personal devices on company wifi and company network
  3. I trust my sales team and do not monitor their mobile devices (tabs, pads, smart phones etc…). It would be breaching into their personal domain
  4. I do not ask (officially) my sales team to keep official mail or documents on their  mobile devices and neither does our security policy allows it
  5. We have not given any mobile devices to all our staffs, except our senior management and sales team
  6. We have very few remote staff or remote locations and we need not to monitor them so keenly
  7. The data on most of the mobile devices are not sensitive enough and even if lost will not impact hugely.
  8. All our official mobility solutions are either on iphone or blackberry and their in-built offering is sufficient to protect and manage email, which is sufficient for me.

 

Fact is, though BYOD/office sponsored mobile device is fast becoming reality, ground reality is people want to concentrate on their core competency (and relevant technology)and not on IT. Companies today do not need to invest their hard earned money on creating an IT infrastructure which they cannot leverage immediately.

Having said that, knowing tomorrow’s technology landscape and how IT will positively impact their core business is also CXOs look out. If you are not agile today , tomorrow you might be in oblivion. We all might choose to reject it but mobile influx will continue to rise and so will its impact on our day to day business. End point devices will radicalize the way we do business, exactly how, that only time will tell, but it is time we be ready to manage the conundrum.

 

Wireless Communication – A Sneak Peek into the wonderland of Wi-Fi

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Provenance

Year 2004, the Economist published a short featured article “A brief History of Wi-Fi”. To say the least, history of Wi-Fi technology is far more interesting than the astonishing present and an exploding future. What it essentially says is that one of the most disruptive innovations of this century has its origin in the refusals of FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and its bright future will be significantly influenced more by lawyers and negotiators than technologist. All so because, Spectrum is a scarce commodity and probably scarcer than gold, but then it’s a different story to narrate.

Why is it important to know Wi-Fi technology?

To give a perspective, following are some facts from Virtual Networking Index – Global IP Traffic Forecast & Gartner.

  • By 2018, 40 percent of enterprises will specify Wi-Fi as the default connection for non-mobile devices, such as desktops, desk phones, projectors, conference room.
  • More than 50% of all IP traffic will originate from Non-PC devices
  • Traffic from wireless and mobile devices will exceed traffic from wired devices by 2019. Wi-Fi and mobile devices will constitute about 66% of the Internet traffic
What we can construe is that even before we realize, the consumption of Wi-Fi will explode literally shackling us down with security, manageability and throughput issues. Consequently dragging us to either discard or completely replace the legacy system.

What are the wireless technologies prevalent in the market today?

Before we try and plan to pin down the problem, we should know at least have some knowledge about the universe of the problem. There are many types of wireless communication technology around us since its inception in 19th century. Fundamentally there are seven broader types of wireless technology which are frequently used around us:

  1. Wi-Fi – One of the most used and accepted technology allowing users in close proximity to connect to a router
  2. Mobile Communication – Examples PCS, GSM, CDMA, TDMA, through which our mobile phones communicate
  3. Microwave communication: This communication method has two ways, one is terrestrial method (i.e. line of sight) and the other is satellite method.
  4. Radio Broadcast: The first broadcasting technology still largely in use for radio stations, maritime communication etc.
  5. Infrared communication or IR communication, used primarily used for short range communications line tv remote or security control.
  6. Satellite communication: One of the most expensive type of communication used primarily for astronomy, atmospheric study, navigation dish TV etc.
  7. Bluetooth technology: I guess it does not require any introduction after having used in so frequently in our day to day lives.

Among these those which are readily used  for wireless LAN and wireless WAN communication are Wi-Fi Technology and Microwave communication. Here we will broadly explore Wi-Fi technology.

Things to know while you are planning for a high density Wi-Fi solution

 

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Designing an optimal Wi-Fi solution is not rocket science, It’s much like running with a ball in a football field where a successful run is equally a factor of defenses capability, turf, your wife’s mood as your dexterity.  Its dynamic and depends equally on factors which are out of your reach than those which are in your control. However,there are few key factors which drive the performance and once understood enable us to know the “important” give a direction.

Key factors

A) Coverage: Coverage defines the area which you wish to cover for Wi-Fi Connectivity. To begin with, estimate the total area to be covered, followed by the segmentation in the area with wall, false walls, partitions etc. The best way to start with is to get the floor diagram from the facilities team and take note of partitions and segmentations. In case you do not have floor diagram, prepare a rough sketch with dimensions and demarcation about all the partitions. Also note down the type of partitions, a gypsum or glass partition will be having less loss than a brick partition.

         Few key points:

  • Area of the floor: i.e area of the office, warehouse, restaurants, classroom etc and its dimensions                                      (height, length and breadth).
  • Partitioning materials: Glass partitions, concrete partitions, gypsum partitions
  • Height of the ceiling
  • One can easily generate a heat map to understand the coverage pattern.

B) Capacity: Capacity planning is to understand the number of users in the specified area and ensure a good quality service to the users. A good quality service is where all the said and mentioned list of applications are available to the users at an optimal speed.

For capacity planning have a list of the following points;

  • Number of expected users
  • Type of applications to be accessed and throughput required for them
  • Type of clients in the network and their capabilities

Factors which influence coverage are:

  1. Physical Obstruction: More obstruction you have between the device and AP the lower is the throughput. As a rule, the lower the frequency, the better penetration characteristics the waves have. However, it also runs that the higher the frequency, the better the reflective capabilities of the wave, so in some cases reflecting a signal to the receiver may work better than trying to send it through objects i.e. walls.
  2. Network range and distance between devices: Signal strength is inversely proportional to the cube of distance. For example is distance increases by a factor of 2, strength reduces eight times.

C) Throughput: How often do we buy a car without knowing how many people can it seat and what is its mileage? Probably never. For quite similar reasons we need to understand the throughput requirement from our solution.

Three things to know for estimating correct throughput:

  1. Estimate the target application throughput level
  2. Estimate the number of client device types and identify its capabilities (in terms of type of radio in each device and the Wi-Fi Alliance® certifications they have passed (802.11b/g/a/n/ac)
  3. Estimate airtime (=application throughput/device capability). Airtime is measures in %
  4. Finally estimate the total number of access points required for given number of devices ( Airtime x Number of devices)

D) Manageability: Not much time back Wi-Fi was understood as small home or small office solution with limited usability and benefits. However, In the last one decade not only has the technology developed significantly, the consumption method mode and type has also broadened. Contemporary WLANs technology delivers high-speed access to campuses, stadiums, offices, hospitals, schools etc. In many locations, WLANs have started to replace wired ethernet as the primary access method for both mobile and fixed client devices, from laptops and phones to printers and cameras considerably. Tagging along with the exponential growth is the inherent challenge of manageability multiple APs in terms of configuration, installation, fault monitoring and periodic upgrades. The answer to this growing need for manageability and scalability was addressed by Controllers. These allows for easy and quick configuration of multiple AP’s without having to manually configure each and every one. As you might assume, scalability is greatly improved by the addition of a WLAN controller as it easily allows the installation of  more AP’s onto the network and reduces deployment and management complexities. Along with it, at times in locations like mall, airports, stadiums etc where additional features like guest access, pay as you use etc needs to be implemented it becomes an additional challenge. Such requirements are addressed by independent application which work in conjunction with controllers and ensure further billing, monitoring and guest user facilities.

Security: A high density Wi-Fi deployment is never complete without proper provisions and check points for security. Even one rough or ignorant user can bring down your delicately planned and deployed system to standstill. Fortunately all vendors have their controllers embedded with plethora of features and functionalities which can provide robust security system. Also in case where additional security features are required third party software’s are easily available which can seamlessly integrate with any controller.

Source: Aruba & Aerohive high density solution designing white papers.

How to choose an optimum endpoint backup software

  • The amount of corporate data is doubling every 18 months
  • 25% of IT professionals are not aware if their BYOD policy is compliant with data and privary protection act
  • 51% find that their current back solution is intrusive
  • On an average it takes 9 days for a user to be fully operational after loosing a laptop – IDC
  • Do it Yourself (DIY) backup which is usually on cloud, flash drives or CDs/DVDs is decentralized and exposed to vagaries to being lost or stolen
  • Proliferation of BYOD is bringing in requirement for backup or good number of mobile devices with heterogeneous environment and keeping the data secure outside corporate firewal
  • Only 8% of the laptop data is backed on to the server – Gartner

6 Points for end point backup

With 28% of your data residing on laptops and endpoint devices at any given point in time coupled with ever increasing influx of mobile devices, data backup, monitoring and managing the increasing number of users is becoming a herculean day to day task for IT administrators. However, before you acquire any product its important one understands endpoint landscape and ensures a complete fitment of the solution with organisations requirement.

  1. Know what is your existing infrastructure and what will it be in future: Having a list of endpoints devices with their operating systems, amount of data and how mobile is the device is the best way to start. This will let us know if we need a simple solution for standard windows backup or should we go for a slightly high end solution which can cater our heterogeneous and highly mobile endpoint landscape
  2. Optimize backup on the basis of bandwidth available: As devices are constantly on move, the backup solution should be equipped to handle the problems due to varying bandwidth and should not hinder the core work of employees
  3. Easy manageability & deployment: A simple gui based management console not only ensures easy one time server installation but also easy and one time push through AD for silent installation of agents on the device. In case you do not have AD then take support to prepare the policies for the fist time and then install it through user base
  4. Focus on less usage of storage: Focus on deduplication. Dedupe methodologies are many but focus on source side dedupe and compression with backend dedupe at servers will save lots of space.
  5. Data visibility & maintain control: When any incidence of loss, theft  or termination is reported, the administrator should have clear knowledge about what is stored on the mobile device/endpoint device and she/he should be able to remotely wipe the data from the device. Its always better to be prepared rather than knowing by embarrassing public announcement
  6. DLP – Data Loss Prevention: For highly sensitive mobile user profiles additional features of geo-tagging, encryption of data, port blocking etc should be provisioned for. These may be additional cost for the first time but it will ensure long time easy manageability.

Comparing Enterprise Endpoint Backup Softwares

The world today is borderless, at least the corporate world. Your clients, employees and deployment sites can be anywhere and the new age communication technology makes it feasible to reach out seamlessly. Though this may sound pleasant the effort which goes behind make it feasible is immense and challenging. One of the critical challenges which come to us on daily basis is the need to protect, manage and save the live red hot data which is floating around on our multiple devices across users spread across geographies and locations. Under this message I will try to explore the requirement, options available in the Indian market and how to go evaluating them to suite you requirement

Why end points backup and recovery solutions?

Reasons are many still I would like to put some interesting facts which reflects the spread of multiple type of devices in developed markets. This gives us a direction in which our users may go in future.

As employees move away from office desk, their choice of device changes drastically.

As employees move away from office desk, their device preference changes dramatically.

User are gradually shifting from company owned to personal devices for office work

User are gradually shifting from company owned to personal devices for office work

Product Comparison:The comparison is only between those products which we have either deployed or tested in-house for performance. The opinions are taken from users of the products and also from engineers who have deployed the products and have hands on experience

Products Ease of Use Deployment Ease Stability Requirement fulfillment Support & Maintenance Cost to Company
EMC Avamar Fairly Easy Not Easy Very High All Average High
Druva Insync Very Easy Fairly Easy High All Good Moderate
Symentac Netbackup Easy Easy High All Good Moderate
EMC NEtworker Easy Easy High All Average Moderate
 

Things to look for while buying?

Fist thing to do before evaluating any products is to understand your own need and prepare your landscape. In case you are not able to get in touch with a knowledgeable integrator to map your requirement. Though you can easily do this yourself by either some basic question. I have listed few of them but it may not be exhaustive.

  1. What are the endpoint OS your primarily use? Is it windows, mac, linux.
  2. Do you intend to save the data on cloud in future or would you wish to have it entirely in your premise
  3. Do you wish to use existing storages you already have and use them or would you wish to use separate storage.
  4. What is your incremental data?
  5. Would you wish to have appliance based backup or would you wish to have separate software and storage hardware?